Saturday, 20 March 2010
Enlightenment exists, but it's not what think
If you're a spiritual seeker, you probably think the ultimate goal is enlightenment. Enlightment is often seen as the end of the search - once you are enlightened, you will have no more problems or worries. You may think that enlightenment means you never get angry or sad - you never have any issues or fears. You may think enlightened people are not humans - they are almost like celestial beings. They have meditated and purified themselves so much, that they can stop their thinking and just be in total silence and stillness all the time. You may think that enlightenment is a totally different state of consciousness, way beyond your ordinary, wakeful state of mind. Enlightenment is reserved exclusively for the very few, and most of us need to keep searching for many lifetimes to get closer to the ultimate state.
I've got news for you. Enlightenment is both very easy and very ordinary. If you'll bear with me, I'll explain why. You don't need to believe anything I say, just test it out in your own experience.
Firstly, enlightenment originally means "to remove the dimness or blindness (usually figurative) from one's eyes or heart". What is this blindness in your eyes or heart? The blindness is that you are an independent physical body-mind, and that you make your own choices, and do certain actions as if you are totally separate from the environment around you. In this understanding comes a wonderful freedom and the end of constant inner conflict.
To understand this, the first step is to know that you are alive and existing. Nobody can deny their existence. You exist and you know that you exist. You don't need to even think about the fact of your existence to know that you exist. This beingness, this knowing that you are existing lies beyond thought. Right now, you can get in touch with the sense that you are alive and exist, and that sense of existence is prior to thinking. Stop your thinking for one second and do you disappear? No, of course not. You still exist. Allow yourself to be absolutely clear that this beingness, this sense of existence is always there, from the moment you were born and through all the moments of your life.
Now, that sense of beingness, which is totally ordinary and cannot be denied, is who you are. You can call it consciousness, awareness, aliveness, beingness, self. The word is not the thing. The word doesn't really matter - what matters is the recognition of your own sense of being. Understand that this ordinary, everyday sense of being is you. You are That. This is what all the scriptures and all great teachers are pointing to all the time. You are that which underlies that.
On top of this beingness, this awareness that you are, lies ALL experience. All thoughts arise and pass away in awareness. All emotions do too. All sensory perceptions arise and pass in awareness. All choices and actions arise in awareness. Anything that has ever experienced has all been experienced in awareness.
So awareness, which is what you are, and what you always have been and always will be, and are right now, is free. Awareness is space like, open, ever shining, totally effortness, free from right and wrong, good and bad, black or white. Awareness is beyond conception. And yet you are that right now. You don't need to have any kind of special experience or awakening to realise this. Ordinary, everyday awareness is what you are. If you understand this, you are free. You are enlightened, and you always were enlightened and you always will be enlightened. Everyone is enlightened, because everyone is awareness or beingness. Enlightenment is not something to get, it is realising you've always been enlightened.
If you liked this post, or have any questions, please make a comment. Thank you.